On Tuesday, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, who was running for governor of Lagos State as the Labour Party (LP) candidate in 2023, put an end to his legal challenge to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s victory in the election that took place on March 18.
Rhodes-Vivour is also contesting Obafemi Hazmat’s ability to run for office on the basis that he is said to have renounced his Nigerian citizenship and sworn loyalty to the United States of America. Hazmat is the Deputy Governor of Lagos State.
During the resumption of the hearing that took place on Tuesday in front of the governorship election petition tribunal, the petitioner’s attorney, Mr. Idowu Benson, informed the three-justice panel presided over by Arum Ashom that his client was withdrawing his complaint.
In the petition that was filed by the Labour Party candidate, there were ten witnesses who testified.
The attorney also presented a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the INEC Form EC9 before the tribunal. This form is an affidavit that contains the particulars of a candidate and was hand-filled by Hamzat. It had been front-loaded by the attorney for the fourth respondent, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Each of the four attorneys representing the respondents voiced their opposition to the petitioner’s proposal that the paper be admitted into evidence.
The court, on the other hand, decided that the paper could be presented as evidence and designated it as Exhibit PE713.
The attorney for the APC, Mr. Noris Quakers (SAN), stated that the CTC that was submitted by the petitioner had been warehoused by the first respondent and was not a part of the court’s official records.
“It is not a document that is now being considered by this tribunal.
To my knowledge, the only thing that may be offered is a paper that has been signed by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
“We will further argue on why this document should not be admitted in the final written address,” he said. “We will continue to argue why this document should not be admitted.”
While praising the petitioner for successfully wrapping up his side of the argument, the lawyer for INEC, Mr. Eric Obigor, informed the tribunal that he would select a date to commence their defense.
The judge who was presiding over the case instructed that the first respondent should commence his case on the following adjourned date; however, the first respondent asked the judge for further time so that he could get his affairs in order.
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Counsel for Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat, Mr. Bode Olanipekun (SAN), also complimented the petitioner for ending its case, but he stated that they should have taken the prudent retreat earlier. The petitioner has been commended for closing its case.
According to NAN, the proceedings were put on hold on Monday because of the witness for the LP’s concerns for their health.
In any case, the court will resume its proceedings on July 5 to hear INEC’s opening statement in its defense.